The reasons to visit Ireland are vast. From studying history to immersion in dramatic scenery to exploring family roots, people travel to the Emerald Isle to experience craggy sea coasts, winding rivers, ancient castles, sprawling farmlands and fascinating cities. But whatever draws travelers in the first place, it is almost always Ireland’s warm-hearted people and rich, lively culture that make their visit memorable and inspire them to return.
Ireland’s long legacy of literature, music and folklore threads its way through every aspect of contemporary life — a heritage that is celebrated in festivals, artwork and song practically every day of the year. And who better to introduce visitors to this colorful cultural landscape than the fun-loving locals!
In every city and village across Ireland’s green expanse, pubs are the heartbeat of tradition. Much more than a place to have a drink, locals go to the public house to hear music, share a meal (and, of course, a pint) with friends and argue over beloved sports teams. Whether their taste runs to Mary Black or U2, Guinness or Bailey’s, hurling or football, visitors soon find themselves listening, laughing and even dancing alongside the regulars. A few musicians in the house? Bring out the fiddles, the tin whistles, the harp and the bodhrán (a traditional drum) and let the jam session begin!
But the celebration of Irish culture extends beyond pub walls. In addition to a dazzling number of music and drama performance spaces, awe-inspiring art collections and artifacts found in museums, cathedrals and castles, Ireland is a land of festivals. Known locally as fleadhs, festivals honor every aspect of Irish life including holidays, food, film, music, history and theater. From the annual Londonderry celebration of the Celtic New Year to the crowning of a goat as King Puck at the 400 year old Puck Fair in Killorglin, there’s a festival for every taste and every age.
The unexpected pleasure of Irish culture is that it’s waiting for visitors everywhere they travel. This is where the experience becomes personal; not just seeing the Dromoland Castle, but stopping and hearing the tales of a farmer whose family has lived nearby for nearly 500 years, or gazing at the fierce Atlantic Ocean crashing against the Cliffs of Moher and hearing a lilting love song about the place. It’s the true color of Ireland.
Brian Moore, executive director and head of partner relations at Brendan Vacations, is an Ireland specialist. Born in Dublin and promoting Ireland for the last 51 years, Moore has developed extensive knowledge and a great passion for his country. Prior to working with Brendan Vacations, Moore worked with CIE Tours International as a tour operator owned by the Irish government and as such has become an unsurpassed Ireland expert. Moore will be in Tucson to share his enthusiasm in all things Ireland this May. Please contact Bon Voyage Travel at 520-797-1110 for locations and times!